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GOP leaders to renew push for voter ID law in Minnesota

Plus: Minneapolis to seek $20 million in bonding for concert venue; $900,000 of counterfeit currency seized near International Falls; Klobuchar endorsed by New Hampshire Union-Leader; and more.

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka
MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka
MPR’s Tim Pugmire reports: “Republicans in the Minnesota Senate said they will renew their push for a voter ID law during the election-year legislative session that begins next month, saying the requirement would help prevent voter fraud. But Democrats say they have no interest in taking up the issue that state voters rejected in 2012, when a proposed constitutional amendment failed by a margin of 52 percent to 46 percent. Still, Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, said he thinks more Minnesotans are now open to the idea.”

In the Star Tribune, this from Miguel Otarola, “This year, Minneapolis leaders hope the stage is set to move forward with the city’s first amphitheater, the centerpiece in a large-scale transformation of 48 acres of riverfront in the North Side. With an estimated cost of $49 million and capacity for 10,000 concertgoers, the amphitheater would host some of the world’s biggest artists and become a national destination, say city officials and First Avenue Productions, which would run the venue. To make it happen, the city is lobbying the Legislature for $20 million in bonds, arguing that it would be an asset to all of Minnesota.”

Laurel Beager of the International Falls Journal writes: “Counterfeit currency valued at $900,000 was seized Friday by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the International Falls Port of Entry. The counterfeit United States currency was discovered in a commercial rail shipment originating from China. Due to the vigilance of CBP officers, a rail container was referred for a Customs Exam Station inspection on Dec. 14, 2019, CBP said in a release. During the examination, CBP discovered 45 cartons of possible counterfeit currency in the form of $1 bills with a total face value of $900,000. The United States Secret Service was contacted and determined the currency to be counterfeit.”

Says Adam Belz for the Star Tribune, “The back end of a cow generates 80 pounds each day of what Dennis Haubenschild, who owns 750 of them near Princeton, refers to as a ‘non-depletable renewable resource.’ Now, technology and policy are aligning for farmers to take advantage of all that manure in a surprising way — by turning it into gas that can fuel vehicles. Haubenschild was among the first dairy farmers in the state to experiment with biogas production, and he uses manure-turned-gas to generate heat on his farm. But climate change policies in California and Oregon have created a different, national market for the gas that comes from livestock manure.”

The New Hampshire Union Leader says, “If there is to be any realistic challenge to Trump in November, the Democratic nominee needs to have a proven and substantial record of accomplishment across party lines, an ability to unite rather than divide, and the strength and stamina to go toe-to-toe with the Tweeter-in-Chief. That would be U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. …Trump doesn’t want to face her. He is hoping for Bernie, Biden, Buttigieg or Warren. Each has weaknesses, whether of age, inexperience or a far-left agenda that thrills some liberals but is ripe for exploitation in a mainstream general election. Sen. Klobuchar has none of those weaknesses and the incumbent needs to be presented a challenger who is not easily dismissed.”

For The Hill, Justine Coleman reports, “Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) channeled the musical Hamilton while calling for witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial, saying she wants to hear from ‘the men in the room where it happened.’ Klobuchar said on ABC’s ‘This Week’ that she is calling her fellow senators to push for additional witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial, specifically former national security adviser John Bolton and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.”

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For MPR, Tim Nelson and Andrew Krueger say, “Several dozen mushers and their dog teams hit the trail Sunday for the annual John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in northeast Minnesota. The main event is a 300-mile race that starts near Duluth, winds its way along the North Shore and Gunflint Trail, and ends at Grand Portage. Some years the teams have to contend with bitterly cold conditions. This year? Not so much. Temperatures at the start should be about 30 degrees above zero.”

Also from MPR, this from Marianne Combs and Krueger (again): “Runners, skiers and bikers will set off from International Falls early Monday for the 16th annual Arrowhead 135 race. More than 150 athletes are signed up for this year’s race. It’s a round-the-clock, 135-mile trek across the northern Minnesota wilderness — with minimal or no outside support.”

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